Mission: Endure (part 2) Sermon Preview

Do you like to tent camp?  Yes?  No?  Maybe?  It Depends?

I am a person who likes the IDEA of camping, more than camping itself.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the outdoors.  I love to hike, see creation, and experience things far from my ordinary world … but at the end of the day, I would strongly prefer to be in my bed at home.

Why is this?  Well, I have yet to have a tent camping experience that gave me the same restful sleep as I can have in my climate controlled home and on my king bed.  It has been my experience that it is very difficult to pack that mattress and central heat and air into a backpack I can reasonably carry … so when I hike, I long for the comfort of home.  Can anyone relate?

Now, this is not to say that tents are not valuable.  THEY ARE.  If you want to hike the Appalachian Trail or see the summits of Half Dome (AND NOT TAKE OUT A SECOND MORTGAGE), then the tent is the way to go.  If you plan to move from place to place nightly, taking your portable home with you by foot – the tent cannot be beaten.  The tent is amazing at being portable … it is just not as plush and more prone to breaking down than its more permanent relative – “the house.”

I was thinking about this today as I looked at 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.  These verses (written by a tent maker) talk about death, and what lies after.  The Apostle Paul compares our current physical bodies to a tent, that (for the believer in Jesus Christ) will one day be traded in for a heavenly home.

Let’s play with this analogy for a moment …

When life in this world is going well, things are good … like taking my tent out on a 70 degree day and setting it down on a bed of soft/level pine straw; I see things I would not see otherwise, and enjoy the moment.

When life in this world is going poorly (health concerns, relational strife, financial burdens), things are good … like my tent springing a leak during a rainstorm on a cold night as I toss and turn over a root poking me in the back, I rejoice that in just a few moments, the pain of the night will be over, and a warm comfortable bed awaits me at home.

In 2 Corinthians 4-7, the Apostle Paul is encouraging us to not “lose heart” as we live out our Christian lives.  One of the things that can cause us to lose heart is when we face death or deal with physical difficulties in life.  Paul’s encouragement?  This body is not your forever home … it is a tent that you will one day trade for a permanent home.  So live now in light of where you will be then, and you will be of good courage, regardless the circumstances.

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 services we will share the Lord’s Supper together, and look at part 2 of our “Mission: Endure” sermon series, looking at 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.  Hope to see you there … and bring friends!

Mission: Endure (part 1) Sermon Questions, Audio, & Video

On Sunday, April 16, 2023 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.  This message was part 1 of the “Mission: Endure” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find audio and video to listen to/watch, download or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  3. What are some stories you have heard or witnessed of people who once followed Jesus but have stopped following Him today?  Has there ever been a time in your life when you stopped following Jesus for a time/season?
  4. Given what we saw this morning in 4:17, how AWESOME must God’s blessings for us be if they make the afflictions we experience today both “light” and “momentary” by comparison?
  5. How does remembering who you are (and where you are headed) motivate you to “not lose heart” today?
  6. What are some examples you are currently experiencing personally (or seeing in the lives of those around you) where the”outer man is wasting away”?  What are some examples you have seen in your life of your “inner man being renewed day by day”?
  7. What is your plan to “see the unseen” through pouring over God’s Word, presenting ourselves to Him, and putting on His truth in obedience?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

Access these questions in pdf format by clicking here.


To listen offline, click the link to download:

Mission: Endure #1 4.16.23


To listen online, use the media player below:


To watch the service, use YouTube online:


Mission: Endure (part 1) Sermon Preview

Life is full of hard things.  Loved ones die.  Sin is tempting, yet destructive.  Relationships get complicated.  Things break.  Storms rage.  Inflation inflates.  Illness (mental and physical) takes a toll.  Sticks and stones break our bones, and words do (in fact) hurt us.

So how do we keep going in the midst of a life like this?  How do we not lose heart?  And as Christians, how do we not give up our faith when what we prayed for does not happen, we are persecuted for our faith, or the “giant” never seems to fall?

Well, I saw a quote this past week from an ultra-marathoner (you know those crazy people who run 100 mile races) that I thought was intriguing.  Ultra-marathoner Dick Collins was asked how to prepare to run something so long.

His response?

“Decide the conditions that will cause you to stop and drop out BEFORE the race. You don’t want to be out there saying, ‘Well, gee, my leg hurts, I’m a little dehydrated, I’m sleepy, I’m tired, and it’s cold and windy.’ And, as a result, talk yourself into quitting. If you are making a decision based on how you feel at that moment, you will probably make the wrong decision.”

What a fascinating statement!  Decide in advance what would cause you to drop out, because challenges are sure to come.

Now I am guessing that most of you reading this are not going to attempt an ultra-marathon.  However, I do believe there is interesting insight from Collins’ statement for the Christian.  It is as if we might say, “How does the Christian run with Christ for the duration of the ultra-marathon of their earthly life?  How can we NOT GIVE UP SPIRITUALLY when things are hard or confusing or painful?”  With this question, Collins’ answer creates an interesting consideration for us.  “What circumstance might cause you to walk away from Christ?  What would have to occur to prompt you to walk away from your Lord and Savior – the One who bled and died for you and has promised you eternity?”

Outside of the emotion of the moment, the obvious answer for any true follower of Jesus would be …. NOTHING.  Nothing would be worth leaving Christ.  As Peter says to Jesus in John 6:68-69, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

That said, we still find temptation to “quit following Jesus” from time to time.  Pain, frustration, or difficulty try to push us to despair on a far-to-regular basis.  Sadly, the world is dotted with people who said “Lord I will follow you anywhere” at church camp or on a college retreat, but at some point jettisoned their faith.  Given this possibility, what perspectives should we keep close that would encourage us to endure … to not quit, even when our “legs hurt?”

This Sunday at Wildwood we will begin an 8 week sermon series that will walk us through 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 7:16 as we see how we might endure on the mission Christ has called us to.  This Sunday we kick things off with “Mission: Endure” part 1, focusing on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.  I hope you make plans to be with us each week of this series over the next two months.  I want to run an ultra-marathon of faithfulness alongside each of you.  Let’s look to God’s Word to see how we can keep the pace.  See you Sunday in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 service … and bring friends!